An interpreter working for Japanese freelance journalists Shinsuke Hashida and Kotaro Ogawa, he was killed along with the two journalists when their car was attacked by gunmen in Mahmoudiya, 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of Baghdad, according to news reports. (Agence France-Presse (AFP) listed the interpreter as Mohamed Najmedin. Some Japanese media accounts reported his name as Mohammed Abu Rwaa.)
The group was traveling to Baghdad from the southern city of Samawah, where Japan deployed hundreds of troops. The Associated Press reported that the two journalists were working for the Japanese daily Nikkan Gendai. Japanese TV channel NHK said they also worked for several other Japanese news organizations.
According to press reports, the journalists’ car burst into flames after the attack. AFP and the Reuters news agency reported that the car was hit by rocket propelled grenade fire. The driver, an Iraqi who survived the incident and spoke with NHK, said he was able to flee before the car exploded.